Camp is not just for big kids. To help families enjoy the experience together, often complete with nighttime sing-alongs, dozens of camps open their gates to families during off-peak times when big kids have gone back to school. You'll stay in bunks or tents provided by the camp and chow down with other campers, so there's no need to own or know how to use equipment. Call the American Camping Association or the chamber of commerce or tourist board of an area you'd like to see to find out about family-style camps.
Throughout the country, farms and ranches offer "working" vacations to families who want to know what it's like to milk a cow or bale some hay.
Restored or recreated towns that harken back to earlier times offer a particularly enjoyable respite for hurried families. Even young children can marvel at seeing horse-drawn carriages head down Main Street or take part in corn shucking.
Ships have become far more family friendly than they once were and many offer the perfect compromise for all family members as well as the convenience of not having to pack and unpack as you go along. Look for a line that offers special deals and activities for young children.